African Youth Optimistic About Fortunes Of The Continent
About 65 percent of 600 select youths and advocate groups from Africa have overwhelmingly acclaimed that the fortunes of the continent would be better in the remaining quarter of a century for the United Nations to notch 100 years.
Some 25 percent of them said the continent's fortunes would remain same with a trifling 15 percent going for the inferior scenario of worsening opportunities.
This came to light when Ms Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), participating in the African Youth Engagement Forum posed a question about the perception of the youth in the next 25 years.
This was a side event as part of the ongoing Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and convened by the Economic Commission for Africa and its partners under the theme, “2020-2030: A Decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.”
They advanced various reasons for their positions after empanelling five of the youths to speak on the issue.
The majority said 25 years ahead of them looked rosy with opportunities across board and especially in education, health, science and technology saying what was needed was taking the right decisions when available.
They were positive the era would nurture and provide a pan-African Youth capable of taking crunch decisions about their total welfare and women taking up leadership roles as well as special care for the environment and climate change.
The youth wanted to see social and political safe-nets and inclusiveness, gender parity and peace, equality, increased African solidarity, bridging the digital divide that cascades into the fourth industrial revolution, quality education as well as disabling patriarchy.
Ms Aya Chebbi, African Union Commission Special Envoy on Youth demanded closing up of co-generational gaps that worked against the full potentials of the youth and insisted African youth owned the narrative for accelerated socio-economic advancement of the continent.
Ms Sicelo Dube, a scientists and CEO of TechWomen Zimbabwe said opportunities available must be grasp by her peers and ''Never break the golden eggs firmly placed in their hands.''
On challenges faced by the youth, they advanced lack of visionary leadership, economic dependence, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, failure of government's to implement youth oriented policies, unemployment, using young people as pawns in warfare and conflicts, not ready for 4IR with education failing to benchmark or target the youth into the future as well as dissipation of Africa's resources and corruption.
The group demanded greater roles of the United Nations, uphold mandate in security matters, invest in the space available to the youth especially establishment of development funds for science and technology ecosystems to set the tone for advancement.
Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Africa entreated the youths to yearn to succeed taking advantage of the structures available to them to develop and shun attitudes that would imperil their constructive development.
She said the future is now and the youth cannot disappoint Africa as the main building blocks for progress and exhorted them to work hard and set targets for themselves.
Ms Mohammed urged the youth to harness their voices and let it be heard louder and believed they would cultivate the penchant to speak truth to power.
She entreated the youth to lead processes to tell their own stories without fear or favour, be resolute and fight a good fight.
The Deputy Secretary-General promised to avail the report as a working document at the highest level of the UN.